WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Raul Ries" [11-1 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

 


Seven Days of Devotion

 The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

Worship God Alone

So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. 
Deuteronomy 34:5-6

At the end of Deuteronomy, the Scriptures tell us God buried Moses in a place unknown to the people. Can you imagine? Moses is the only person who was buried by God? I can imagine the funeral. There were probably angels in attendance.

Isn’t it interesting how God made sure no one knew the location of where the body was buried? Even though it was done in secret, people have been looking for the grave for years. But God had a plan, as He always does.

Moses was still strong, but God said his time was up. He did not have a heart attack. God did not allow a disease to kill him. He just took him, and the people mourned for Moses for 30 days because he was a great leader. Although they mourned, the people accepted Joshua as their new leader.

God does not want us to get focused on a person. He does not want us to depend on or worship anyone other than Himself. Moses was God’s leader. He was not to take the place of God, but to lead the people to God.

We should never allow ourselves to depend on people, or think only this person or that person can lead us. Our eyes should always be set upon the Lord. He is where our help comes from.

An idol may be defined as any person or thing that has usurped in the heart the place of pre-eminence that belongs to the Lord.
-Arthur Wallis-

 

 

MONDAY

Wisdom of Age

Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.
Deuteronomy 34:9

The children of Israel accepted Joshua the son of Nun as their leader, not only because he was full of the spirit of wisdom, but because Moses, their godly leader, had laid his hands on him.

Moses had not laid hands on Joshua suddenly, but because Joshua had proven himself over time. He did not look out at the people and pick Joshua at random. Joshua had been a faithful servant of the Lord. Remember, he was one of the two people who gave a good report after spying out the Promised Land. Not only that, but he was a man of faith—trusting God to deliver them from the giants in the land.

The one thing about being old is I realize how much I do not know. When I was young, I thought I knew everything, but I was stupid. I remember my father-in-law. He had so much wisdom, but I was young and stupid.

Look at Solomon’s son. When he chose the guidance of the young men over the wisdom of the elders, there was chaos. The people wanted to kill him. You see, the old have the wisdom. They have been around a long time, and they have seen many things.

As leaders, we need to receive wisdom from those who have been around longer than us. We also need to be careful when raising people up. There needs to be evidence of God’s spirit of wisdom in their lives.

Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world
through the eyes of a child.
-Ron Wild-

 

 

TUESDAY

 

Be a Nobody

But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the
LORD knew face to face.

Deuteronomy 34:10

Moses began his life as a great man—a somebody. His first forty years were spent in the palace of Pharaoh. He was educated as a prince and was in line for the throne of Egypt.

After Moses killed the Egyptian, he became a nobody for forty years in the wilderness, tending the flocks. God used this time to humble him. Although he had been great in the sight of the people, he was not ready to be used by God.

The last forty years of his life, Moses was a man greatly used by God. He was fully dependent upon the Lord, not trusting in his knowledge or wisdom, but seeking God in all matters. Moses had a great name, a great background and a great legacy, because he went to Egypt in the power of the holy God.

When I read through the Bible and the life of Moses, I realize I would rather be a nobody for God than somebody in the eyes of man. I have seen in my own life how God took me, turned my life around and has allowed me to serve Him in ways I could never have imagined. I think Moses must have been blown away by the work God did through him.

I pray we would all seek to be nobodies, used by God tremendously!

Inside the will of God there is no failure. Outside the
will of God there is no success.
-Bernard Edinger-


 

WEDNESDAY

Second Law

So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.
Deuteronomy 31:9

The name Deuteronomy means “The Second Law.” What is the first law? The Ten Commandments are the first law, given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The second law was given in the mountains of Moab, by Moses in Deuteronomy 31:1-8. It was given looking towards the Promised Land. It is the first law interpreted in light of 36 years experience in the wilderness.

There were new situations as new problems arose and, yet, the law was there to cover and speak to the people. There needed to be application to the law and situations they were facing. The second law did not change or alter the Ten Commandments; it merely made application of the law to the lives of the people. It is the conclusion or finishing touch.

This is a great example to us in applying God’s Word to our lives. It is not enough to read the Bible and memorize verses; they must be reflected in our lives and how we react in situations and trials.

We each need to be living Bibles—a reflection of Christ as He is the Word of God.

Jesus Christ left us an example for our daily conduct
and from it there can be no appeal.
-A.W. Tozer-

 

THURSDAY

Teach God’s Word

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Deuteronomy is a commentary on the Mosaic Law. There are four Hebrew titles for Deuteronomy: Debarim, meaning “The Words” or “These be the Words,” The Kith, or the Fifth of the Law, The Book of Reproofs and The Iteration of the Law. In its content, the old generation teaches the new generation the Law of God. We see the importance of the Word and the importance of teaching each new generation the Law.

In the Jewish tradition, when a baby was born, right after the child came out of the womb, the mother would bring the baby up to her mouth and whisper in their right ear, “Yahweh is God, Yahweh is God.” This was the first thing the baby would hear.

From the womb, the children of Israel were taught about God—Yahweh. The Hebrew women were the ones to nurture their children. The husbands would take the spiritual leadership of the home and teach the children God’s Word.

Mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, it is so important to begin teaching your children and grandchildren about the Lord Jesus Christ before the world gets a hold of them. Brain wash them, “Yahweh is God!”

Training a child to follow Christ is easy for parents,
all they have to do is lead the way.
-Author Unknown-

FRIDAY

Teach God’s Word

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down,
and when you rise up.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Deuteronomy is a commentary on the Mosaic Law. There are four Hebrew titles for Deuteronomy: Debarim, meaning “The Words” or “These be the Words,” The Kith, or the Fifth of the Law, The Book of Reproofs and The Iteration of the Law. In its content, the old generation teaches the new generation the Law of God. We see the importance of the Word and the importance of teaching each new generation the Law.

In the Jewish tradition, when a baby was born, right after the child came out of the womb, the mother would bring the baby up to her mouth and whisper in their right ear, “Yahweh is God, Yahweh is God.” This was the first thing the baby would hear.

From the womb, the children of Israel were taught about God-Yahweh. The Hebrew women were the ones to nurture their children. The husbands would take the spiritual leadership of the home and teach the children God’s Word.

Mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, it is so important to begin teaching your children and grandchildren about the Lord Jesus Christ before the world gets a hold of them. Brain wash them, “Yahweh is God!”

Training a child to follow Christ is easy for parents,
all they have to do is lead the way.
-Author Unknown-

SATURDAY

 

New Generation

Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
Psalm 78:3-4

Now, there is this new generation coming up which has not heard the original proclamation of the Law given at Mt Sinai. So, this new generation has to be taught. Remember, they are coming out of Egypt going into a new country. Now, what is the problem with going into a new country? Customs, people, traditions and the danger of contamination.

Today, if you go to New York City, you have the Jewish section, the Italian section, the Arab section-everyone living within their own culture, with their own traditions. When they came from their countries, they stayed together and lived among their own people to keep their traditions.

Entering the Promised Land, the Jews were concerned about their kids. They knew idolatry would be found in their new home, which was forbidden by God-worshipping Baal, Ashtoreth, the worship of sex, of power, the worship of money, the worship of all these things God had warned them about. He told them their children would be seduced by the things of the world.

It is no different today. We must not live our lives according to the culture, our traditions or the world’s standards. We must stand upon the Word of God and live our lives holy and separated unto God.

You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you
love more than God is your idol.
-D.L. Moody-

 


THE WEEKLY WORD WITH RAUL RIES 

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordraulries.blogspot.com/

 


 

WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Mark Balmer" [11-11 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

 The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

 

“Breaking from Routine”

Preparing the Soil (Introduction): I grew up in a Christian home where we attended the Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night services. However, I still had so many unanswered questions. Nothing seemed to make sense to me, and no one really had an answer to give. The church was very traditional. We sang from hymn books, and everyone wore their Sunday best.  Pantyhose were as much a staple as the special song during the offering, and attending Sunday school was not optional, but required. Now don’t get me wrong; this was and still is a wonderful church, and it gave me a great foundation.  However, tradition was paramount, and routine was everything.  You knew what was expected every Sunday and Wednesday night.

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? (Matthew 15:1-3) You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” (Matthew 15:7-9) The video testimony we watched this weekend shows how someone could sit for 8 years under amazing teaching and still not hear the Word of God. Then I thought about it. I sat for longer than that under another teacher and still did not hear the Word of God. Yes, I heard it, but I was stuck in tradition and a routine. I honored God with my lips, and yet my heart was so far from His. I worshiped God at church, and yet paid more attention to pleasing those around me. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10) I am truly convinced that the only reason why tradition within churches is still alive and well is because of this verse. Understand that a routine or structure is not a bad thing; It is necessary for order. CCM has routine and structure within our services.  But do we, as Christ followers, have a daily routine in our lives that our unlimited God never has the opportunity to enter? He enters through various ways, including through His Word, other people and the Holy Spirit. It isn’t until we truly get right with God and declare: “No more people pleasing, no more tradition, no more of my routine.  God, you show me where and how to please You.” And believe me, He will.  He’ll show you that it’s not just hearing the Word of God once or twice a week.  It is also being in the Word every day, connected to other Christ followers, and daily being led by the Spirit. It’s breaking from the routine, the tradition, and saying that my lips not only honor You, but my heart follows you, and my worship is not only in my heart, but also through my actions.

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): Like Pastor Mark said, it’s never too late to start doing right. Sometime today I challenge you to be spontaneous for Him, step out of your routine, throw off the pantyhose (or that tie) and say, “Lord, whatever you ask, it will be done.” Who knows what He will tell you to do, but know that it is an opportunity from the Lord to tell someone else what an amazing God we serve.

Cultivating (Additional Reading):  Psalm 37:23; Matthew 9:9-13

 

 

MONDAY

 

“In Our Own Eyes”

Preparing the Soil (Introduction): We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33) I have a friend who once told me that I had a personality that reminded her of a pillow. It was a bit hard to know how to take a remark like that. Being a typical American woman, I have always felt the need to slenderize. Was she insinuating I was as overstuffed and fluffy as her bed pillow? Was she saying my personality is as dull and boring as talking to a pillow? Before I could take offense, my puzzlement must have shown because she went on to explain that she felt I was someone she could come to for comfort when she was hurting or upset. That I managed to absorb her stress without reacting, and support her when she was weary and needed a place to recuperate, like a pillow. It is hard to interpret the thoughts of others correctly. We read remarks, gestures and eye contact through the lenses of our own inner doubts and insecurities and act accordingly. We assume we know what people are thinking, when we actually have no idea. I am sure ten of the original twelve spies sent out by Moses felt like grasshoppers in their own eyes when they saw the size of the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Knowing the plan was for them to drive these people out; their insecurities shrank their size while magnifying the hulk of the Nephilim giants in their minds. In all actuality, the Israelites had their entomology wrong when it came to what the natives in the land thought of them. They were sure they looked like grasshoppers, but I believe the Nephilim were fearfully dreading an intrusion of locusts when the time came to defend their land from God’s people. Like locusts, their numbers filled the land. There appeared to be no stopping them once they were on the move, because they were led by an unearthly power. Rahab the prostitute painted the true picture of the state of mind of the inhabitants in the Promised Land. She told her guests, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” (Joshua 2:9) It doesn’t sound quite like the story those original spies told, does it? The devil is a mastermind at planting seeds of doubt and fear. He knows exactly what buttons to push to keep us bound and inactive. Those ten faithless spies listened to his lies and refused to tackle the task that would have presented them with unlimited opportunities.

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): What kinds of lies does the devil whisper in your ear when you stand on the border of Unlimited Opportunities? Does he remind you of past failures that disqualify you from future successes? Does he tell you the assignment God has given you is gargantuan and your skills are tiny? Are you struggling with feelings that others might look down on you and what you have to offer? When you think of inviting someone to church, does his voice whisper, “They would never be interested”?

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): Remember that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) so whatever he says, the opposite must be true. Don’t be like the ten spies and listen to his exaggerations. If he is using fear and shame to keep you from God’s potential, send him packing by boldly stepping out into that new land God has set before you. It’s never too late. Start today!

Cultivating (Additional Reading): Philippians 3:13-14; Ephesians 6:9-11


 

  

TUESDAY

“Allowing Change”

Preparing the Soil (Introduction): We all struggle with weaknesses and bad habits in our lives which can lead to behavior we’d all rather forget. Our ‘self-improvement’ focused society drives us to spend time, money and energy in gyms and read countless books and magazines in a vain effort to improve ourselves. The problem is that these efforts often address the effects of the problem in the body and mind rather than the source of the problem, the heart. Inevitably we fall short of our goals and disappoint ourselves and sometimes the people we love. Anyone who has tried to caringly change a loved one knows the frustration of seeing them repeat the same mistakes to the same end. There is an old phrase that goes something like this, “You can’t ask a leopard to change its spots.” Whether it’s you personally, your best friend or even your spouse, the fact is people can’t change people, but God can!

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): God alone has the ability to change our hearts for the better. The process starts with accepting the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary; For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13, KJV) Accepting the grace of Jesus allows Him to start cleansing us and making us Holy for presentation (Ephesians 5:25-27). It is not an event, but a process that doesn’t end until we take our final earthly breath. God wants us to be changed by the truth, (John 17:17) and gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer our bad habits and desires (Romans 8:9-14). To truly grow in the Lord we must open our hearts to Jesus in prayer and present ourselves humble in our imperfection. In addition, it is imperative to consistently study God’s Word, which will completely satisfy a Christ follower’s every need. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV)

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): God knows how to make us the best person we can be. Submit yourselves in prayer to Jesus, and allow Him to begin to shape you. We started as wood fit only to be burned in the fire, but in prayer and studying the Word, we allow our rough edges to be smoothed and our hearts shaped. Jesus, the carpenter, has a tool for every imperfection, and He will continue to shape us until we are a gift worthy to be presented to the King of Kings.

Cultivating (Additional Reading): Hebrews 13:9Luke 18:9-14

 

WEDNESDAY

 

“Changed lives change lives”

Preparing the Soil (Introduction): A couple of weeks ago our fridge quit working. It was beyond repair. We have had many things come up lately, and finances were short, so we prayed and waited on God to provide. Over a week had passed, and I was thinking maybe it was time to stop living out of a cooler and bite the bullet. Yet on my way home from work I saw a sign propped up in front of a house saying, sale. This was the middle of the week, not a time you would usually see a garage sale. I felt God's prompting to stop and see if there was a fridge. So I did. I looked around, and there was not much there and no fridge anywhere. I talked with the man for a minute and figured I had nothing to lose, so I asked if he had a fridge for sale. When I did, he paused and got a funny look on his face and said, "Well you know, I do. We thought something was wrong with ours and bought a new one but found out the old one works fine. I will sell it to you." The price was in our budget, and when he brought it by I had the opportunity to tell him how he was an answer to prayer. We had a great conversation about the Lord. 

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): The work of God in a life is the most powerful evangelistic tool available. There are many formulas and methods out there concerning sharing Jesus. Yet before there was "The Romans Road" or "One Verse Evangelism," God was at work in individual’s lives. And how did the Gospel spread? People talked about what God had done in their lives. Remember the Samaritan woman? Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him... And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”  (John 4:28-30, 41–42) How did it start? One woman, who was not perfect, who did not have it all figured out, experienced the power of God in her life and told others. Many people wanted to see who made that difference. Did all of them believe? No, but many did. Our responsibility is not to make someone believe. It is just to tell what God has done. Give God the credit for what He has done, and some will believe.

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): Changed lives change lives. My story of God's work in my life above is just as powerful as someone being relieved of their addiction to drugs or sex or whatever else. It is the power of God at work. As we talk to others about all the things God has and is doing in and through us, many people will want to know that God for themselves. How did Rahab and the people of Jericho know about what God had done? People talked about it. How will people know about how great, powerful, loving and forgiving our God is? We will have to open our mouths and tell them. We will tell anyone about a great sale or a new product. Let's start telling them of something even greater! Our God and His power at work in our lives!

Cultivating (Additional Reading):  Psalm 66

 

  THURSDAY

“Unlikely Saints”

Preparing the Soil (Introduction): Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. (Joshua 2:1) Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death. Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land." (Joshua 2:8-14)

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): This story of Rahab should encourage our hearts and boost our confidence in God’s ability to use anyone for His glory. In spite of her occupation, God still saw a potential saint in our sweet sister. I imagine that her neighbors would have never imagined that this “lady of ill repute” would be included in the lineage of the Messiah of Israel. Yet, God directed Joshua’s spies right to her front door! I wonder if they were as surprised as she was to make their acquaintance. It’s good to know that God values the unseen, even though mankind disqualifies the outward appearance. I often wonder how many “divine appointments” I have missed because I judged the outside of the container and overlooked the “creamy vanilla filling.” Remembering that God can use anyone, at any time, should keep us from disqualifying the unlovely or the unfriendly. A prime example of His ability to take nothing and make it something is you and me! We haven’t always been this good!  In fact, some of us could probably identify quickly with Rahab. It’s comforting to know that the saints that have gone before us were not perfect, but just like us. They needed a Savior to help them see the Light!

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): I find it interesting that the king of this city knew that the spies were in town, but couldn’t find them. Just like many other kings in God’s Word, he knew something was up, but couldn’t get an exact reading on how or where. In fact, his soldiers were at Rahab’s front door, and they still didn’t catch Joshua’s spies! Amazingly, they took the word of a prostitute and flew out of town on a wild goose chase! (Which just goes to show you that when God has a plan, no one gets in the way, not even the king!) It’s good to be reminded that God is not under the obligation of the “local authority” and even though our enemy talks big, he is a conquered foe! Oh he may threaten and jeer, but he is a puny creature trying to make a big show! Even now, he knows that God is up to something, he just isn’t exactly sure of what and with whom. It frustrates him no end that he cannot read our minds and must wait until we speak to know what we’re up to. Isn’t it empowering to know that through Jesus Christ, God has elevated us above the god of this world? Remember that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), so whatever he says, the opposite must be true. Don’t be like the ten spies and listen to the enemy’s exaggerations. If he is using fear and shame to keep you from God’s potential, send him packing by boldly stepping out into that new land God has set before you. It’s never too late. Start today!

Cultivating (Additional Reading): Joshua 1-2

 

  FRIDAY

 

“Decision Time”

Preparing the Soil (Introduction):   It is so easy to follow the Lord when things are going as we think they should.  As Jesus was entering Jerusalem, the people were happy; the timing for the Messiah was at hand. They knew the time He was to come because of the prophecy in Daniel 9, so they were expecting Him. They were excited to follow Jesus. In their minds, things were progressing as they thought they should. Very soon, Jesus would set Himself up as king and overthrow the rule of the Romans. They were tired of the Romans telling them what they could and could not do. The Romans had taken away their right to capital punishment, and they had to get permission from the Romans to do much of anything. And they were tired of the taxes, which were very high because of corruption and massive building projects. They were ready to be a sovereign nation again. So, when Jesus came riding on a donkey after all the other miracles were performed, they knew the time for Messiah was upon them.  The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,  (Isaiah 61:1-2) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  (Zechariah 9:9)

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): They were looking for their king. The only problem: in a few days many of the other prophecies about Jesus would be fulfilled. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  (Isaiah 53:3) We people are just so fickle. It is easy to follow Jesus in the good times, when everything is going our way. Yet the minute we run into trouble, we start to question whether we really heard God or not. Over and over I have heard people proclaim they heard from the Lord on a direction they were taking, only to hear them say later when times got tough that it must not have been God's will because it was not easy. Whether something is easy or not has no relevance in determining if it is God's will. “... In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  (1 Peter 4:12) There is no promise in Scripture that says all things will go as we desire, or that everything will be easy. Yet there are many promises that we will have trouble and things will be hard. But through tough times, God says, ...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  (Matthew 28:20) Trouble will come, and things will be hard, yet we are not in it alone. The One who created and conquered the world is with us. We cannot let the circumstances of life determine our steps.

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): It is easy to let our close, personal feelings and our emotions drive our decisions.  Yet Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (John 14:1) If we are trusting in God and His truth (the Bible), our feelings and emotions should not be at the forefront. Who God is and what the Word says should determine our every move. Our feelings and emotions should be judged and changed by the Word. We do not want to be the unstable man, blown by the wind that James talks about (James 1:6-8).  When life does not go as we think it should, we are to look back to God and His Word to determine our next step. They had problems with it 2000 years ago, and we will have the same struggle. So what is the answer?  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.  (Philippians 3:14-16)

Cultivating (Additional Reading):  James 1:2-5; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33

 

 

SATURDAY 

“Influenced”

 

Preparing the Soil (Introduction):  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8) When I was in my early 20’s I became friends with a man who, in my eyes, was very successful.  One day he said to me, “You become like the people you associate with and the books that you read.”  Since then I have reasoned that it’s a good idea for me to hang around with positive people.  I also recognized the fact that if books are highly influential, then I wanted to be influenced most by the Holy Bible.  Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. (Joshua 3:9)

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth):  When I first began attending CCM, I joined a small group.  There I found that the small group leader was so well versed in the Bible that he spoke with a lot of wisdom.  After hearing how much Biblical wisdom he had, I made two very important decisions: first, to get around him as frequently as possible and second, to keep my mouth shut and listen.  Prior to having met him, the only thing I understood about Jesus was my need for obedience (I have to do this and have to do that). After having met him, I understood that it was all about having a personal relationship with Jesus, and that this relationship comes through daily prayer and time spent in God’s Word. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. (Proverbs 2:9-11)

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)  Do you spend quality time associating with individuals who are Spirit filled?  Do you spend some time every day reading from the Bible?  Do you spend time every day in prayer with Jesus?  I believe these are the only ways that you can grow spiritually: by first believing in Christ, then seeking after and following Christ, and finally associating with other Christ followers, especially those who are further along in their walk with Jesus than you are.  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

Cultivating (Additional Reading):  2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 40:8

  

 

THE WEEKLY WORD WITH MARK BALMER

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordmarkbalmer.blogspot.com/

  

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